Gender

Madras High Court Questions Centre on Pending Transgender Bill

Representative image: Transgender people in Delhi celebrate the Supreme Court's NALSA judgment. Credit: Reuters

Representative image: Transgender people in Delhi celebrate the Supreme Court’s NALSA judgment. Credit: Reuters

Chennai: Voicing concern over the plight of transgender people, the Madras high court on Friday directed the Centre to inform it whether a follow-up action would be taken to make the transgender Bill pending in the parliament a statute.

Giving the direction on a petition filed by two transgender people, Justice N. Kirubakaran said a decision on the passage of the Bill should be taken at the earliest because people were suffering.

He directed the central government that it has to inform the court whether the follow-up action would be taken to make the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 a statute.

He noted that the Lok Sabha referred the bill to the parliamentary standing committee on social justice and empowerment on September 12, 2016, for examination and the committee submitted its report on July 21 this year.

“They (transgender people) are unable to even use public facilities like washroom for their convenience. If any right is given under the proposed Act, it will definitely address this problem also,” the judge said.

The judge also directed the Centre to inform the court why it introduced its own bill in the Lok Sabha when already a private member Bill ‘The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014’ was passed unanimously by the Rajya Sabha on April 24, 2015, and subsequently came to the Lower House.

He was referring to a submission by the counsel for the Centre in this regard.

Taking a serious view of the Tamil Nadu government’s failure in implementing the court’s earlier direction on a reservation to transgender people, the judge said a decision shall be taken on or before November 27 failing which the health secretary, and the secretary, Social Welfare Department have to appear in the court.

A bench of the high court had directed the state government to take a decision on the reservation for the transgenders within six months.

“The period of six months has already expired and even today it is stated that the decision is being considered,” he noted in his order.

They could not postpone the issue of making a reservation to transgenders indefinitely, the judge said.